Cheryl Miller, whose use of medical marijuana to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis turned her into a leading anti-War on Drugs activist, has died. She was 57.
Miller passed away on June 7 in a hospital near Silverton, New Jersey. Funeral services were held in New Jersey, and her ashes were interred in her native Oklahoma.
“The freedom movement has lost a very brave fighter,” said LP Political Director Ron Crickenberger. “Cheryl continued to stand up for what’s right long after she was able to physically stand. She did more as a bed-ridden invalid to speak out for the rights of patients than do most able-bodied activists.”
Miller used medical marijuana for relief from the pain of multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disease she battled for 30 years and that left her confined to a bed.
The drug gave her more “effective relief for her pain and other symptoms than any other pharmaceutical agent,” reported the drug-reform group DRCnet. “[She] typically used it in a tincture, or in foods made using marijuana butter; she was never a recreational smoker.”
Because her use of the drug was a crime, Miller became increasingly active in the medical marijuana movement. She attended marches with her husband Jim pushing her wheelchair.
In 2002, Miller had a starring role in a Libertarian Party television advertisement that targeted Congressman Bob Barr, who the LP had identified as one of the worst “drug warriors” in Washington, DC.
The advertisement showed a wan Miller addressing the camera from a hospital bed, saying, “Bob Barr thinks I should be in jail for using my medicine. Why would you do that to me, Bob?” The LP broadcast the ad about 4,000 times on CNN, TNT, Comedy Central, MSNBC, and other cable networks in Barr’s Georgia district.
Barr lost the Republican primary on August 20, and the advertisement was later named the “Most Dramatic” political ad of 2002 by National Journal magazine.
Before her death, Cheryl Miller was scheduled to attend the NORML conference in San Francisco in April 2004 to accept, with her husband, the Peter McWilliams Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Cause of Medical Marijuana.